Otto Preminger – The Cardinal [+Extras] (1963)

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From DVD Verdict.com:

The Charge
“Look at him now, will you? Stiff as a board, he is, in that fine Eye-talian suit.”—Dennis Fermoyle (Cameron Prud’Homme)

Opening Statement
As World War I reaches its peak, bland and sincere Stephen Fermoyle (Tom Tryon) prepares for his new assignment in his hometown of Boston. As a newly ordained Catholic priest, Fermoyle takes his duties very seriously. But over the next two decades, he will see his faith tested, his family torn apart, and the world plagued by the horrors of racism and fascism. Continue reading

Otto Preminger – Exodus (1960)

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Plot
Produced and directed by Otto Preminger, Exodus is a 212-minute screen adaptation of the best-selling novel by Leon Uris. The film is concerned with the emergence of Israel as an independent nation in 1947. Its first half focuses on the efforts of 611 holocaust survivors to defy the blockade of the occupying British government and sail to Palestine on the sea vessel Exodus. Paul Newman, a leader of the Hagannah (the Jewish underground), is willing to sacrifice his own life and the lives of the refugees rather than be turned back to war-ravaged Europe, but the British finally relent and allow the Exodus safe passage. Once this victory is assured, 30,000 more Jews, previously interned by the British, flood into the Holy Land. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide Continue reading

Bernardo Bertolucci – Novecento aka 1900 [Extras] (1976)

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Synopsis

Quote:
Bernardo Bertolucci’s vast historical melodrama used the massive popular, critical, and financial success of its predecessor, the scandalous LAST TANGO IN PARIS, to mount a production of epic scale. Cut down to four hours for its American release, the film utilizes an all-star Hollywood…
Bernardo Bertolucci’s vast historical melodrama used the massive popular, critical, and financial success of its predecessor, the scandalous LAST TANGO IN PARIS, to mount a production of epic scale. Cut down to four hours for its American release, the film utilizes an all-star Hollywood cast to tell its heavily Marxist tale of Italian peasants during the twentieth century. Two boys born on the same day are destined for divergent paths; Olmo (played by Gerard Depardeiu as an adult) is born to peasant parents and will become a passionate socialist, while Alfredo’s (Robert De Niro as an adult) bourgeois, landowning origins will lead him to ultimately embrace fascism. Driven by a sincere hope for and belief in political change, Bertolucci’s film is nonetheless made up of very humane individual stories; it concentrates on highly personal experiences of a politically-charged time, which color the little dramas of love, sex, family, and community. It is at once an epic poem and a political manifesto, and it is the product of a director who was unabashedly communist in his youth, contrasting markedly with later works like 2003’s THE DREAMERS. Continue reading

Joe D’Amato – The Emporer Caligula: The Untold Story AKA Caligula 2 (1982)

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from IMDB:

The deranged Roman emperor Gainus ‘Caligula’ (Little Boots) Caesar (12-41 A.D.) rules Rome with an iron fist and has anyone tortured and exectued for even the slightest insubordination. Mostly set during his last year of his reign, as Caligula loses support due to his brutal and crazed excess, a young Moor woman, named Miriam, becomes his lover while ploting to kill him to avenge the murder of a friend which Caligula was responsible for. But Miriam is torn between her personal vandeda against Caligula and her own personal feelings towards him despite his madness and debauched lifestyle of orgies and bloody torture murders. Written by Matthew Patay Continue reading

Stanley Kubrick – Barry Lyndon (1975)

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Synopsis
BARRY LYNDON is Stanley Kubrick’s epic costume drama based on William Makepeace Thackeray’s picaresque novel. It tells the story of a young rogue who wanders through life getting lost in various adventures, meeting his share of women and oddball characters. When Redmond Barry (Ryan O’Neal, trying desperately to maintain an Irish brogue) becomes jealous of Captain Quin’s advances on Barry’s beloved cousin, he challenges the man to a duel. Winning the duel, young Barry is forced to leave his home and his mother, and off on his adventures he goes. He meets thieves, lonely soldier brides, Prussian army leaders, and British widows, inventing new stories about himself at every turn of the road. BARRY LYNDON is lush and magnificent, sparkling with color, every frame reminiscent of the finest European art. The blues of the Prussian army uniforms and the reds of the British contrast sharply with the majestic green land and mountains in nearly every background. Kubrick often begins a shot close in, then zooms out to reveal the beautiful natural landscape and ornate rooms surrounding the now seemingly insignificant characters. With rousing performances from O’Neal, Marisa Berenson, Hardy Kruger, and Leonard Rossiter, jaw-dropping camerawork, spectacular natural lighting, and a marvelous classical-music soundtrack painstakingly put together by Kubrick, BARRY LYNDON is a dramatic romantic epic that may be Kubrick’s most beautiful film. Continue reading

Louis Feuillade – L’orgie romaine AKA Heliogabale [hand coloured version] (1911)

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Short silent epic from gaumont, hand coloured. The story of Elegabalus, one of Rome’s most vain, brutal, decadent and perverted emperors. Apart from his personality problems, things only really take a nasty turn for him when he sets lions on his guests at a palace party. After a couple of years, people (or at least the pretorian guards) are not going to stand for that… Continue reading

Enrico Guazzoni – Quo Vadis? (1912)

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Directed by Enrico Guazzoni
Scenario by Enrico Guazzoni, from a novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz
Amleto Novelli (Vinicius), Gustav Serena (Petronius), Amelia Cattaneo (Eunice), Carlo Cattaneo (Nero)

The birth of the motion picture epic is generally dated to the 1913-1914 Italian films Quo vadis, The Last Days of Pompeii, Cabiria and Cajus Julius Cesar, many of them based on a standard set of 19th century religious novels that would be made and remade over the next half of the 20th century. One of several specialists in the genre, Enrico Guazzoni filmed this second version Quo Vadis?, the prime exemplar of a subsidiary genre to “Life of Christ” films, one that might be called the “Christ vs. Caesar” genre. The title of this film means “Where are you going?” and the question is posed by the Ascended Christ to Peter in a vision as the latter departs Rome on the eve of an Imperial persecution. The main story, however, focuses on a Roman commander, Vinicius, who falls for a Christian girl, Lygia, and is so drawn into the underground Christian community, experiencing a personal transformation along the way. Continue reading